14 Best Family Summer Vacations
School will be out and workloads will be lighter, making summer a prime season for family travel. Considering factors that make a destination stand out for families (like family-friendly accommodations, attractions that appeal to kids and easy travel itineraries), U.S. News determined a list of recommended summer trips for the whole gang. Use this ranking to imagine the possibilities, and allow me to perfect your vacation plans.
New York City - The Big Apple is a playground for children and adults alike. Families visiting New York in the summer can enjoy the outdoors with a bike ride through Central Park; shop at kid-focused stores like American Girl Place and The LEGO Store; and take in a classic Broadway musical. Parents can also introduce kids to the foodie mecca that is NYC.
Bahamas - With family-friendly resorts, warm temperatures and fewer crowds in the summer, the Bahamas is a solid family vacation spot. Many island hotels feature kids clubs, water sports equipment for rent and massive pool and water park areas that appeal to kids. June is the best month to visit since hurricanes become more of a threat in the late summer.
Niagara Falls - Niagara Falls is the quintessential family vacation. Kids and parents alike will enjoy the up-close view of the tumbling falls from the Maid of the Mist boat excursion or the Journey Behind the Falls tour. Meanwhile, the Aquarium of Niagara and the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory appeal to animal lovers.
U.S. Virgin Islands - The U.S. Virgin Islands offer a beach retreat that's equal parts relaxing and adventurous. The islands are home to numerous beachfront resorts with organized kids clubs and activities, plus families can book snorkeling excursions and kayaking tours to explore the picturesque scenery. The beaches here are nothing to scoff at, either.
Boston - Boston is home to world-class museums, like the Boston Children’s Museum and the Museum of Science, which can keep the educational spark alive even when school is out. And a family vacation to Boston isn't complete without catching a game at the famous Fenway Park. First-time visitors might also want to do a Boston Duck Tour to see the city from both Newbury Street and the Charles River.
Aruba - Tropical pastel buildings offset the blinding white beaches of Aruba. One of the few Caribbean islands that lie outside of Hurricane Alley, Aruba is an optimal destination throughout the summer. If you’re not looking to spend all day on the beach, many of the island’s resorts include activities for kids that are both fun and educational.
Ocean City - Home to a wide beach, mini-golf courses, plenty of ice cream shops and a lively boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland, is a perfect summer trip for families. Plan to book accommodations early, though: Thousands of vacationers travel here during June, July and August.
Myrtle Beach - This beach town caters to families with its lifeguard-patrolled sands and lodging options galore (think hotels, condos and vacation rentals). Myrtle Beach also offers family-friendly activities like mini-golf, the Ripley's Aquarium and the Family Kingdom Amusement Park. Plus, this laid-back beach is easy for East Coasters to travel to via car.
Jackson Hole - Boasting incredible mountain scenery, Jackson Hole is a great option for families who want to get back to nature. Adults and kids can hike through Grand Teton National Park (and keep an eye out for wildlife!) before setting up camp within the park. The area also offers horseback riding and river floating tours.
Amsterdam - Canals crawl across Amsterdam and separate beautiful museums from large parks and world-class restaurants. It’s true, Amsterdam does have a lax attitude toward many vices, but the Red Light District is easily avoided and its “coffee shops” pass as quaint cafes to the untrained eye. Given the opportunity, Amsterdam’s diverse attractions will pleasantly surprise any family.
Portland - Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Portland, OR during the summer – the consistently warm weather makes exploring the city’s green spaces ever so enjoyable. Traveling clans will want to spend some time at Washington Park (home to the brilliant rose test garden, the zoo, a children's museum and playgrounds). Foodie families will also love the Saturday Market.
Puerto Rico - Families seeking a mix of culture and adventure find Puerto Rico to be a top-notch summer trip. Pencil in some time to explore Old San Juan, lounge on the area's beaches, go for a hike through the rainforest and travel to the nearby islands. Socially conscious families can also find volunteer opportunities to help aid in hurricane recovery efforts.
Vail - Adventurous families love Vail during its warmest months. Its mountains were made for hiking and biking, including exploring the spectacular scenery. Visitors can also get their adrenaline pumping on a whitewater rafting excursion or zip lining tour. Resorts and vacation rental options abound in this popular vacation destination, too.
Hamburg - One of Germany's best-kept secrets, Hamburg is a fun European city full of culture. And the summer months are the best time to visit thanks to ideal temperatures. The whole family can enjoy attractions like the Hamburg Zoo, the water and light show at Planten un Blomen park and the beach along the River Elbe.
Which of these will you choose for your 2019 family vacation spot? Having been to seven myself, I can attest they are pretty spectacular in the summer.
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